In a recent groundbreaking study published in the Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal, researchers have made a substantial leap forward in the field of drug delivery systems for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This study, which aims to tackle the challenges of poor water solubility associated with the anti-rheumatic drug baricitinib, presents a nano-encapsulation technique using poly-lactic-glycolic acid (PLGA) as a co-polymer. The findings detailed within the journal give hope for improved in vitro performance and oral bioavailability for patients suffering from RA.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the joints, causing swelling, pain, and eventual joint degradation. The American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism has specified criteria for the classification of RA that include joint involvement and serological parameters (Aletaha et al., 2010). Baricitinib is among the drugs approved for the treatment of this debilitating condition, offering an inhibitory action on janus kinase (JAK) enzymes and thus reducing the inflammatory response. However, one of the significant hindrances in the utilization of baricitinib is its limited solubility in water, which results in inconsistent absorption when taken orally (Assessment report: Olumiant).

The team of researchers led by Mohammad Javed Ansari from the College of Pharmacy at Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University in Alkharj, Saudi Arabia, embarked on a mission to find a solution to enhance the drug’s delivery. Taking cues from advancements in nanotechnology, the researchers employed PLGA, a biocompatible and biodegradable polymer, widely recognized for its potential in drug delivery systems (Costabile et al., 2018; Dinarvand et al., 2011).

DOI: 10.1016/j.jsps.2019.01.012

The process of nano-encapsulation involved the nanoprecipitation method, a technique tailored to produce nanoparticles of a defined size and encapsulation efficiency (Ansari, 2017). The developed PLGA nanoparticles of baricitinib were characterized for their morphology, size, zeta potential, and drug release profile. Photon correlation spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy analyses affirmed the successful creation of spherical nanoparticles with an acceptable size distribution (Finsy & De Jaeger, 1991). The zeta potential measurements, which play a critical role in the stability of colloidal dispersions, exhibited values indicative of stable formulations (Honary & Zahir, 2013).

The dissolution studies of the encapsulated drug in PLGA nanoparticles showed a promising increase in the aqueous solubility of baricitinib. The in vitro release profile revealed a sustained drug release over a certain period, suggesting potential improvement in the bioavailability and therapeutic effectiveness of the orally taken medication (Shen & Burgess, 2013).

Moreover, the study analyzed the potential of the novel formulation to traverse the intestinal barrier using in vitro models. The researchers indicated a marked increase in the permeability and uptake of the nano-encapsulated drug by Caco-2 cells, which simulate the human intestinal lining, over that of the unencapsulated drug (Joshi et al., 2016). It highlights the formulation’s aptitude to enhance the absorption of baricitinib once ingested orally.

This research not only suggests an improvement in the drug delivery of baricitinib but also provides a blueprint for utilizing nanotechnology to refine the bioavailability of drugs with poor water solubility. For patients living with RA, advancements such as these can significantly impact the management of their condition, offering more reliable and effective treatment options.


1. Baricitinib encapsulation
2. PLGA nanoparticles RA treatment
3. Enhancing oral bioavailability
4. Nanotechnology in rheumatoid arthritis
5. Polymeric drug delivery systems

The article’s potential to attract interest is high as it aligns with an existing need for solutions that address the pharmacokinetic limitations of vital medications like Baricitinib. The use of PLGA as a co-polymer in the nano-encapsulation process embodies a shift towards personalized medicine, where drug delivery systems are designed to circumvent individual challenges for increased efficacy.

The implications of this research are broad, affecting pharmaceutical development and potentially altering the standard of care for RA patients. The collaboration between pharmacy practitioners and researchers, as demonstrated in this Saudi-based study, paves the way for a future where drug delivery is as personalized as the treatment plans for chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.


1. Aletaha D., Neogi T., Silman A.J., Funovits J., Felson D.T., Bingham C.O., III, Birnbaum N.S., Burmester G.R., Bykerk V.P., Cohen M.D., Combe B. (2010).
2. Alshehri S., Shakeel F., Ibrahim M., Elzayat E., Altamimi M., Shazly G., Mohsin K., Alkholief M., Alsulays B., Alshetaili A., Alshahrani A., Almalki B., Alanazi F. (2017).
3. Ansari M.J. (2016).
4. Ansari M.J. (2017).
5. Costabile G., Gasteyer K.I., Nadithe V Van, Denburgh K., Lin Q., Sharma S., Reineke J.J., Firestine S.M., Merkel O.M. (2018).

The advanced encapsulation technique developed by Mohammad Javed Ansari and his team is only the beginning. Continued research and development in this area could vastly improve the lives of those impacted by chronic conditions and paves the way for the pharmaceutical industry to produce more effective and patient-friendly medications. The efforts of these researchers bring hope of a future where treatment for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis is not only manageable but also less burdensome, establishing a new standard in patient care.